Dan Bucatinsky already acts on one Shonda Rhimes series (Scandal) and serves as a writer on another (Grey’s Anatomy). He now will try to expand Rhimes’ ABC portfolio with a new hourlong series. The network has bought Show & Tell, a dramedy from Bucatinsky and Rhimes’ Shondaland. Inspired by Bucatinsky’s book about parenthood, Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight?, Show & Tell is described as a fast-paced dramedy about the lives, loves, and scandalous secrets of a group of parents whose kids attend the same school. Bucatinsky is writing and will executive produce with Shondaland’s Rhimes and Betsy Beers. ABC Studios, where Shondaland is based, is producing what marks Shondaland’s fifth project this development season. Bucatinsky, repped by CAA and attorney Bob Myman, is nominated for an Emmy for his recurring role on Scandal as the long-suffering husband of Cyrus (Jeff Perry). Rhimes is with ICM Partners, Beers with UTA.
Bad news for ABC — better news maybe for Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey: Sandra Oh has announced she’s leaving Grey’s Anatomy at the end of the ABC drama’s upcoming 10th season. “It’s been a great privilege to play the character of Cristina Yang on GA and I am both sad and excited to see where this, her final season will take her,” Oh said in this afternoon’s statement, calling it an emotional and “deeply creative decision” to leave.
Pompeo and Dempsey’s contracts also are up at the end of the coming season, and ABC presumably won’t want any more of the series majors to exit. That’s always a good bargaining position. Dempsey made news the recent Summer TCA Press Tour, when he told a ballroom full of press — while promoting a car-racing show for Velocity network called Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans – that his passion in life is car racing, and acting is what he does to support that habit. Some mention may have been made of the redundancy of Grey’s storylines. Eyebrows around the room shot up. And a few days later, at the Press Tour, the reporters asked ABC programming chief Paul Lee if Dempsey was leaving and/or Grey’s was toast after this season. Lee responded, emphatically — as did ABC today in the wake of Oh’s announcement — that ABC intended to have the steamy doc drama on the primetime lineup “for many years.” At that time, Lee said he would not discuss possible cast changes — the press assumed he was talking about Dempsey — because he didn’t want to be yelled at by show creator Shonda Rhimes.
The top TV stories that Deadline had this week. Missed ‘em? Now you can check them out anew here:
Leno’s Last Tonight Show’ To Air Feb 6; Staff Paid Until September
By Lisa De Mores – EXCLUSIVE: Jay Leno-hosted Tonight Show will air its last episode on February 6, and, per terms of his show exit s deal with NBC, the cast and crew will be paid until his contract expires in September
Broadcast Drama Marketplace Off To A Very Slow Start: Where Are The Pitches?
By Nellie Andeeva -Note to up-and-coming writers with good drama spec scripts lying around: now is your time. We’re heading into mid-August, and the network drama marketplace is still very sluggish
Fox Makes Big Investment In Programming & Marketing; To Spend $150M More Vs. Last Year, Including 10% Lift In Development
By Nellie Andreeva – Fox has been aggressive in the early going this buying season, snapping pitches preemptively in premium deals, including two pilot production commitments and one put pilot.
Hot Amblin TV Sci-Fi Spec ‘Extant’ Lands At CBS With 13-Episode Order For Summer ‘14
By Nellie Andreeva - After making waves in the marketplace, the sci-fi drama spec Extant from new writer Mickey Fisher and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television has landed at CBS with …
EXCLUSIVE: You couldn’t tell Shonda Rhimes has her hands full with two 22-episode drama orders for next season (ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal). It’s barely August, and Rhimes’ Shondaland has already sold two new projects for 2014-15. On the heels of Lawless, from Mistresses developer/executive producer KJ Steinberg, Shondaland has set up another hourlong project at ABC, police drama from Made In Jersey creator Dana Calvo. (Given her showrunner duties on Grey’s and Scandal, Rhimes is not expected to be writing a project herself this development season). The untitled Dana Calvo project, co-produced by ABC Studios where Shondaland is based, is set in Miami and follows an unorthodox detective and his methodical new female partner as they solve cases that only seem to happen in the neon wilds of one of America’s most eclectic and vibrant cities. Calvo, repped by CAA and Jamie Mandelbaum, is executive producing with Shondaland’s Rhimes and Betsy Beers, repped by ICM Partners.
EXCLUSIVE: In one of the first buys for the upcoming development cycle, ABC has put in development Lawless, from Mistresses developer/executive producer KJ Steinberg and Shonda Rhimes‘ Shondaland. The project tells the story of Joanna James, a maverick lawyer who returns to her hometown to right the wrongs she left behind. It is inspired by the real life of crusading trucker-turned-lawyer Wynona Ward, founder of Have Justice Will Travel. Former victim of sexual abuse at the hands of her father, Ward got compelled at age 41 by the news of another child in her family getting sexually abused by relatives to go to college and law school and start a group that provides free legal representation and support services to victims of domestic violence in rural areas.
Steinberg is writing Lawless, which she is executive producing with Shondaland’s Rhimes and Betsy Beers in conjunction with UK-based producers Esther Douglas and Tara Cook. ABC Studios, where Shondaland is based, is producing. This marks a reunion for The Nine co-creator Steinberg and Shondaland. Two years ago, they teamed for Gilded Lilys, a period drama which also was an early buy at ABC and went to pilot. Gilded Lilys was one of two scripts Steinberg wrote during the 2011-12 development season. The other, an adaptation of the British drama Mistresses, received a straight to series order by ABC for this summer. The network recently left the show …
Diane Haithman is a contributor to Deadline.
Scandal fans watched tonight’s jam-packed season finale and received a major revelation SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! because of a single line (“Dad???”). The ABC drama’s ’gladiators’ as they are called heard it live at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences at the end of the first-ever onstage table read of the show using the finale script. The session ended about 10 minutes into the 10 PM PT airing. The cast whooped and hollered too. “The satisfying part is, I knew all along,” Morton crowed as the cast finished reading Act 6 which revealed that Rowan (Joe Morton) is the father of Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington). At the top of the session, show creator/executive producer Shonda Rhimes said she hoped the experiment would give the audience a feeling of what it’s like to be in the room at a real table read. Washington said she didn’t know that would be a plot twist until the first table read of the script. “I grew up in a household where Joe Morton is a great American hero,” she said. “Every week I would say: ‘Joe, I really hope we have some scenes together. He’d say: ‘We do. We do.’ ”
The Parents Television Council is lambasting ABC for a torture scene in last week’s episode of Scandal that the group says reveals how broken the content-rating system is. “The brutal nature of that scene, which was rated as appropriate for a 14-year-old child, refutes statements made by an industry claiming to be responsible and concerned about societal violence,” the PTC said in a statement Monday. The January 10 episode of the political drama from creator/executive producer Shonda Rhimes had a content advisory at the beginning of the broadcast. But calling the three-minute scene “intense, explicit and bloodied,” the heads-up wasn’t enough for the advocacy group. “It is sickening just how quickly the entertainment industry was able to move past the tragedy of Newtown and get back to business as usual,” said PTC president Tim Winter. The PTC particularly singles out the timing of the episode, coming on the same day entertainment industry representatives met with Vice President Joe Biden at the White House to discuss curbing gun violence in the wake of the Newtown school shooting. The episode marked a Season 2 ratings high for the Kerry Washington-starring drama.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Scandal creator/executive producer Shonda Rhimes says producers of the ABC series to “ramp up the drama” for the second season. During a conversation on the series’ Hollywood set at the end of ABC’s portion of the TCA press tour, Rhimes held court on a sofa she shared with co-executive producers Betsy Beers and Judy Smith (the real-life White House “fixer” who inspired the lead character, Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope). Rhimes said the series needed to widen its scope because the new season will have 22 episodes instead of the short order of 7 that launched the series.
Rhimes said that for the second season the show initially received a 13-episode order and then got a back 9 order, so some story lines come to a logical conclusion within the 13 episodes. In the first season, “We expected to do 7 episodes” and then wondered “what the hell are we going to do next?” As with last season, Rhimes said the series will still have a “case of the week but then ramp up to the larger story we’re telling.”
Asked to speculate on the show’s breakout success, Rhimes said: “I don’t dare or bother to speculate. I’m just supposed to make the shows.” She added, however, that the success of Grey’s Anatomy gave producers “the capital” to take some risks with …
On tonight’s Oprah’s Next Chapter, TV showrunner Shonda Rhimes reveals how she felt when former Grey’s Anatomy reguler Katherine Heigl said in 2008 she wanted her name taken out of Emmy consideration because she hadn’t been “given the material to warrant a nomination” in the show’s writing. Winfrey asks Rhimes, who also created Private Practice and Scandal, how that made her feel. “On some level it stung, and on some level I was not surprised,” the Grey‘s head writer, tells Oprah in a teaser for the interview (watch it below). “When people show you who they are, believe them. I carry that with me a lot. It has served me well.”
Shonda Rhimes, creator of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal, is producing another drama for the network with a female lead… sort of. ABC has put in development MILA 2.0, a sci-fi thriller about a young woman who discovers that she is a Mobile Intel Life-like Android, Mila, an experiment in artificial intelligence created by the U.S. government and her scientist mother, who kidnapped her when she was found to have human emotions. Dave DiGilio will write the drama project based on the book Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza, which is being published in March by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. It is planned to be the first in a sci-fi book series. DiGilio executive produces with Shondaland’s Rhimes and Betsy Beers. ABC Studios, where Shondaland is based, is producing.
EXCLUSIVE: Shonda Rhimes‘ Shondaland has set up two projects — including its first half-hour comedy, I Hate LA Dudes, from writer Issa Rae (Web series The Misadventures Of Awkward Black Girl) — that have been sold to ABC. Also at the network, Shondaland has The Mix, a comedic drama written by John Hoffman (Igor) set behind the scenes of a The View/The Talk-type morning talk show. With Rhimes busy shepherding three series she created — ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal — she and her producing partner at Shondaland Betsy Beers focused on developing with other writers this season. The two executive produce both I Hate LA Dudes and The Mix, which hail from ABC Studios where ICM Partners-repped Shondaland is based.
IATSE Local 80 has filed grievances against ABC Studios for the recent firing of several crew members on Grey’s Anatomy. The Local’s business manager Tom Davis filed the papers for the union. (UPDATE: Because of the nature of the complaints, Grey’s creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes and her Shondaland production company were not filed against.) The long-term crew members were allegedly fired after speaking with Disney Human Resources about the “hostile work environment” they felt was created last season by director of photography Herbert Davis. A source tells Deadline that the grip crew, gaffer and both the A-camera and B-camera assistant cameramen were replaced. The parties are expected to meet on the matter sometime in the near future as a first step in the process. Charges of wrongful dismissal and firing in retaliation for a protected activity are being filed with both California and Federal labor departments against ABC Studios.
“We want the very good and the bad.” That’s what American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said this afternoon is the core of the competition show. “It’s the bland people in the middle we want to get rid of.” Variety, drama, comedy and reality TV all came together on the Produced By Conference’s Mega-Producers panel moderated by CAA TV agent Rob Kenneally. Grey’s Anatomy’s Shonda Rhimes, Cougar Town’s Bill Lawrence and Jersey Shore’s SallyAnn Salsano joined Lythgoe. Although their genres differ, each member of the panel seemed to have pretty much the same approach to their job. “You are putting out fires every day,” said Rhimes. “I guarantee you that everyone up here has failed more than you can imagine,” Lawrence pointed out. “I think we all have a fear of failure,” Salsano confessed. “Success or failure,” lamented Lythgoe, “you’re always fighting.”
The fear factor aside, the panel also agreed organization was crucial to running the multiple shows each runs. “It’s all about being organized,” said Rhimes. “Wherever I am, that’s where I am going to be.” Salsano echoed the organization sentiment but said reality …
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Shonda Rhimes, whose new series Scandal premiers on Thursday, was flooded with questions about her old ones – Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice — at tonight’s panel “Welcome to ShondaLand: An Evening With Shonda Rhimes & Friends” at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre in North Hollywood. Questioners eager to find out how the seasons will end for two key couples: Meredith and Derek of Grey’s (Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey) and Charlotte and Cooper of Practice (KaDee Strickland and Paul Adelstein), weren’t able to drag much information out of Rhimes, Pompeo or Strickland (the panel also included Grey’s Sandra Oh, Private Practice cast member Taye Diggs and, from Scandal,Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn and Katie Lowes). “I don’t know,” said Pompeo. “I know that Shonda usually writes the [season] finale, so it’s going to be good. So who cares? Let’s just wait.” Rhimes confirmed that she is writing the episode, but wouldn’t say whether it will see Meredith and Derek in their “dream house”. “I would have said yes three days ago, but I went into the writer’s room and totally dismantled the finale again, so I don’t know,” Rhimes said, to laughter.
ABC has given the pilot green light to Gilded Lillys, a period drama written/executive produced by The Nine co-creator KJ Steinberg and executive produced by Shonda Rhimes. Set in 1895 New York City, Gilded Lillys is described as an epic love story that follows the opening of the first luxury hotel in the city and the intermingling of love, treachery and disdain between the classes. The project, from ABC Studios and Rhimes’ studio-based Shondaland, was one of ABC’s first buys in August and is now among the network’s first pilot pickups. It follows the orders to Roland Emmerich’s metaphysical drama and Shawn Ryan/Karl Gajdusek’s Last Resort. Steinberg, who spent four seasons on Gossip Girl as co-executive producer, made a two-script deal at ABC Studios at the beginning of this season. Her other project under the pact, Mistresses, is still in contention for a pilot pickup at ABC. Rhimes, who is executive producing Gilded Lillys with Steinberg and Betsy Beers, sold a slew of projects through Shondaland this season. Her next ABC series, drama Scandal, launches in April. It was the first pilot to get the green light last pilot season.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
The ABC hit hospital soap Grey’s Anatomy could presumably go for another decade despite being in the middle of its eighth season right now, says the show’s creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes. Speaking to reporters following a panel session promoting her new ABC midseason drama Scandal that premieres this spring, Rhimes noted that when it comes to Grey’s, ABC has a plan. “I don’t know that it matters what I want to do, (since) it’s ABC’s show, not mine,” she said. “I think (ABC programming chief) Paul Lee has publicly said he wants the show to go for like 10 more years. We’ll see what happens.” Indeed, Lee earlier today praised the veteran medical drama for “coming back roaring back this season.” Would Rhimes herself like to see the show go for 10 more years? She admitted, “I don’t know how I feel about that concept. I also am not going to say ‘no’ to my employers at this time. … I think they should do the show only as long as the show is interesting to do.” At the same time, Rhimes added that when she’s done having “interesting” ideas to do with Grey’s, she’ll be done with the show. “But that doesn’t necessarily mean the show would be done (at that point). For me, it’s about do I have a way to reinvent it, do I have a way …
Shonda Rhimes’ company Shondaland has sold its fourth project this season, drama The Circle to ABC. Written by Richard Robbins (Shondaland’s Inside The Box), the ABC Studios-produced project is described as part soap, part conspiracy thriller that follows ten friends, adopted as children by a billionaire philanthropist, who begin to question their past when one of their own is murdered. Robbins and Shondaland’s Rhimes and Betsy Beers are executive producing. The Circle joins Shondaland’s other 3 projects this season, Gilded Lillys from writer KJ Steinberg and a legal drama from Jenna Bans at ABC and the company’s first sale to an outside network, dramedy Wildwood, which received a put pilot commitment at Fox.
In Shondaland’s first sale outside of ABC, Shonda Rhimes’ ABC Studios-based company has landed a put pilot commitment at Fox for Wildwood, a 1980s dramedy written by Diane Ruggiero (The Ex List). Set in 1985 Wildwood, New Jersey, this coming-of-age dramedy centers on a wise-beyond-her-years teenager who poses as an adult in order to land a job at a popular bar on the Jersey Shore. Over the course of a summer fueled by romance, intrigue, and 80s music, she must balance her obligations to her chaotic Irish-Italian family with the new secret life she leads. ABC Studios and Shondaland are producing, with Ruggiero, Rhimes and Betsy Beers executive producing. This is the second period one-hour project Shondaland has in the works for next season. In August, the company sold to ABC Gilded Lillys, a 1895 drama written by The Nine co-creator KJ Steinberg. It is one of two projects the company has at ABC, along with a legal drama penned by Jenna Bans. Ruggiero is with UTA and Principato-Young, Shondaland with ICM.
Off the Map creator/executive producer Jenna Bans and executive producer Shonda Rhimes are teaming for a new ABC drama project created by Bans. The untitled legal drama centers on a young, idealistic defense attorney who, after being ignominiously fired from his high-powered Minneapolis law firm, struggles to start his own firm with an eclectic group of lawyer misfits, while starting to realize that he may have been fired from his old job because he got too close to a deadly cover-up. ABC Studios and Shondaland are producing, with Bans, Rhimes and Betsy Beers executive producing. Before she created Off the Map, Bans worked on Rhimes’ veteran medical drama Grey’s Anatomy and now serves as a co-executive producer on Rhimes’ midseason ABC drama Scandal. This marks Shondaland’s second ABC sale this season. Last month, the ABC Studios-based company set up Gilded Lillys, a 1895 drama written by The Nine co-creator KJ Steinberg. Bans and Rhimes are with ICM.